1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) Vaccine Information Statement

Possible Side Effects

By

Updated May 16, 2014

4. What are the risks from MMR vaccine?

A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting any of these three diseases.

Most people who get MMR vaccine do not have any problems with it.

Mild Problems

  • Fever (up to 1 person out of 6)
  • Mild rash (about 1 person out of 20)
  • Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck (rare) If these problems occur, it is usually within 7-12 days after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.

Moderate Problems

  • Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever (about 1 out of 3,000 doses)
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women (up to 1 out of 4)
  • Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder (about 1 out of 30,000 doses)

Severe Problems (Very Rare)

  • Serious allergic reaction (less than 1 out of a million doses)
  • Several other severe problems have been known to occur after a child gets MMR vaccine. But this happens so rarely, experts cannot be sure whether they are caused by the vaccine or not. These include:
    • Deafness
    • Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness
    • Permanent brain damage

5. What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?

What should I look for?

Any unusual conditions, such as a serious allergic reaction, high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. A high fever or seizure, if it occurs, would happen 1 or 2 weeks after the shot.

What should I do?

  • Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.
  • Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form. Or call VAERS yourself at 1-800-822-7967 or visit their website at http://www.vaers.org

6. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

In the rare event that you or your child has a serious reaction to a vaccine, a federal program has been created to help you pay for the care of those who have been harmed.

For details about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, call 1-800-338-2382 or visit the program's website at http://www.hrsa.gov/osp/vicp

7. How can I learn more?

Ask your doctor or nurse. They can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.

  • Call your local or state health department's immunization program.
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
    • Call 1-800-232-2522 (English)
    • Call 1-800-232-0233 (Espanol)
    • Visit the National Immunization Program's website at http://www.cdc.gov/nip

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH and HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Immunization Program

Vaccine Information Statement ]
MMR
1/15/03
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26J

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.